Way back in 2005 I submitted the following editorial to the Dayton Daily News:
DPS in 'moral emergency'
- DATE: October 16, 2005
- PUBLICATION: Dayton Daily News (OH)
- SECTION: Opinion
- PAGE: B9
I'm certainly glad that the radio and TV spots Dayton Public School Superintendent Percy Mack spent Dayton taxpayers dollars on are over. Mack and the entire Dayton School Board should be ashamed of their performance as stewards of our tax dollars, and more importantly, of our children. Mack's pleading over the airwaves for students to come to school for just one week in order to artificially inflate Dayton Public School attendance numbers is little more than legalized fraud. If he and the rest of the school board cared about our children as much as they purported to, they would have addressed the issue of poor attendance long ago, not only when it threatened to hurt the schools pocketbook. Dayton Public Schools are continually rated as being in academic emergency. With the sort of moral leadership Mack exhibits
thorough stunts like his artificial attendance week, it is clear that Dayton Public Schools are also in a state of "moral emergency."
It seems some things never change, except for the worse. Last week Dayton taxpayers were again subjected to an onslaught of radio spots and television ads featuring Mack being barely less charlatan-like than the televangelists of the eighties.
Mack and some of his school teachers beg and plead for Dayton's chilren to be in school "especially this week" because it's "count week." Count week, for those lucky enough to be unfamiliar with the practice, is a designated week when attendance records determine how much funding a particular school district will receive. In the past, Dayton Public School have resorted to all sorts of stunts in order to lure children into the halls of state-controlled learning:
- Having UD basketball stars come to a school
- Offering pizza parties for every classroom with perfect attendance
- Raffling off prizes to kids who actually bothered to show up for class
While I'm sure some will champion these as creative ways to get a child to class, the bigger point is missed: Dayton Public Schools appear only to care most about attendance when their funding is at stake. In the last three years Dayton Public Schools have spent over half a million dollars
on advertising, not counting direct-mail (which isn't cheap, either.) What for? All to secure around $5,000 in funding per pupil who shows up for school on count weeks.
Understand here exactly what Percy Mack is doing... he's using your
tax dollars, to launch ad campaigns intentionally designed to artificially inflate the numbers of children sitting in Dayton Public School classrooms. Mack is doing this to mislead the State of Ohio into believing that more children attend school in Dayton Public Schools than is actually the case, and in so doing Mack ends up collecting more of your
tax dollars from the state, some of which are undoubtedly used to continue perpetrating this fraud on the taxpayers.
Half a million dollars, Dr. Mack? How many college scholarships for poor kids could you hand out with that much money? What would the effect be on attendance if Dayton Public Schools started handing out half a million dollars in scholarships?
Some might think I'm being rough on a school that's beginning to emerge from "academic emergency" and had been recognized as being in "continuous improvement." If continuous improvement is the goal for Dayton Public Schools, perhaps they should change their motto from "A new day is dawning" to, "We don't suck as much as we did last year."